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This week:

Black women are more likely to report sexual harassment in the workplace, Georgia’s “heartbeat bill” was finally challenged in court, and what to know if you missed the Democratic debates.

Period pain is linked to nearly 9 days of lost productivity

Menstruation affects women and girls’ work and school lives in quantifiable ways, according to a survey of more than 30,000 Dutch women between the ages of 15 and 45. Researchers found that period pain was linked to nearly nine days of lost productivity a year: Eighty-one percent of the women surveyed said they had been less productive as a result of their menstrual symptoms, and 1 in 7 had taken time off from work or school during their period. Only 1 in 5 of the women who took time off told their employer or school the real reason for their absence.

The study, published in the medical journal BMJ Open, is the largest of its kind. As CNN reported, menstrual leave — which several Asian countries already offer — may be a possible solution.

Alabama woman is charged with manslaughter for miscarriage after being shot

(iStock; Lily illustration)
(iStock; Lily illustration)

Marshae Jones, 27, was indicted on manslaughter charges in Alabama last week for miscarrying after being shot in the stomach by another woman. Jones was five months pregnant when she got in a fight outside a Dollar General. The other woman shot her in the stomach. While Jones survived, the altercation resulted in a miscarriage. Now, prosecutors are saying they have not decided whether Jones will face prosecution for the death of her fetus. Jones was released on a $50,000 bond Thursday.

Alabama is among 38 states with laws that classify fetuses as victims in homicide or assault. The indictment against Jones said that she “intentionally” caused the death of her fetus by “initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant,” reported. As the abortion debate rages across the United States — especially in Alabama, which passed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws in May — abortion rights advocates spoke out against the charge. They argued the case was evidence of Alabama criminalizing pregnancy.

Black women are more likely to report workplace sexual harassment, study finds

New research analyzing information from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that while reports of sexual harassment in the workplace have declined significantly over the past 20 years among white women, those declines have been far less significant for black women. The study, published in the journal Gender, Work and Organization, found that the likelihood that an individual white woman reported sexual harassment to the EEOC dropped by more than 70 percent between 1996 and 2016. However, the rate for African American women dropped by only 38 percent.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is an expression of power — a way for men to assert their dominance,” the study’s authors concluded. “The shift from sexual harassment of white women to African-American women indicates that harassers are conscious of power relationships, and choose to target more vulnerable women in their workplaces.”

After photo sparks outcry, immigration crisis comes to the fore

Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and Valeria, his 2-year-old daughter. (Courtesy María Estela Ávalos)
Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and Valeria, his 2-year-old daughter. (Courtesy María Estela Ávalos)

Last week, the photo of an El Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned while attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border became a symbol of the border crisis. Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, the 25-year-old father, had reportedly been desperate for safety and opportunity for his 2-year-old daughter, Valeria. They were attempting to cross the Rio Grande to seek asylum in the United States when they were swept away by the river; the resulting tragedy was captured by photographer Julia Le Duc and first published in Mexican newspaper La Jornada.

The highly visible deaths come as the immigration debate intensifies. Immigrant communities are continuing to prepare for ICE raids, though the Trump administration decided to postpone the mass arrests of immigrant families it threatened in June as it works on a possible immigration deal with Democrats. The threat of deportation has also led to a marked increase in undocumented victims of domestic violence choosing not to pursue legal action against their abusers, according to advocates and attorneys. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court announced it will review next term whether the administration illegally tried to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Amid political controversy, Megan Rapinoe leads the U.S. to World Cup semifinals

Megan Rapinoe. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters/Lily illustration)
Megan Rapinoe. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters/Lily illustration)

U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe has been making headline after headline. For starters, she scored the two goals that clinched a 2-1 win for the United States against host nation France in Friday’s World Cup quarterfinals. But amid her stellar performance on the field, Rapinoe has also been vocal in her opposition to the Trump administration. During the tournament, she has refused to sing during the national anthem, which President Trump said was not appropriate. She also last week used an expletive to assert that she’d refuse to visit Trump’s White House if the team were invited — and stood by the comment when reporters pressed her about it.

Rapinoe did, however, accept an invitation from a different political figure. On Twitter, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) invited Rapinoe and the rest of the national team to tour the House of Representatives.

The U.S. team faces England in the semifinals Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET.

(Jim Bourg/Reuters/Lily illustration)
(Jim Bourg/Reuters/Lily illustration)

The first Democratic debates of the 2020 presidential race generated quite a bit of buzz last week, not least because for the first time, more than one woman took the stage alongside male candidates. We compiled a list of the most memorable moments from female candidates.

On Wednesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dominated the stage and presented her economic vision for the United States. But former housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro also distinguished himself in terms of how he spoke about abortion: He used the term “reproductive justice” to acknowledge the barriers that face low-income women and women of color seeking abortions.

Julian Castro. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty/Lily illustration)
Julian Castro. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty/Lily illustration)

Some viewers noticed that while men on Wednesday night appeared eager to interject, the women onstage — Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) — waited their turns.

That changed Thursday night, when author Marianne Williamson and Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) took the stage. In the most talked-about moment of either debate, Harris confronted former vice president Joe Biden about his comments about working with segregationists. Speaking about a black girl integrating a public school in California, Harris said, “That little girl was me.”

(Brynn Anderson/AP; Lily illustration)
(Brynn Anderson/AP; Lily illustration)

Racist attacks on Harris flooded in over the weekend, including from Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted and then deleted a comment throwing Harris’s blackness into question. Other 2020 candidates rushed to the senator’s defense. In a tweet Saturday, Biden wrote: “The same forces of hatred rooted in ‘birtherism’ that questions @BarackObama’s American citizenship, even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator @KamalaHarris. It’s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it.”


• Georgia’s “heartbeat bill” — which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected and was passed nearly two months ago — was challenged in federal court Friday. Lily staff writer Caroline Kitchener answers the question: Why did it take so long?

• Separately, a federal judge blocked Indiana’s second-trimester abortion ban days before it was set to go into effect.

• Tennis star Serena Williams will appear on General Mills’ next Wheaties box, the company announced last week. The cultural icon said she had “dreamt of this” since she was young: “I hope my image on this iconic orange box will inspire the next generation of girls and athletes to dream big,” she said.

• For the first time, women are on track to make up the majority of the U.S. college-educated workforce this year, according to an analysis by Pew Research.

• After Kim Kardashian West released a new line of slimming undergarments called Kimono Solutionwear, some Japanese people accused the reality star of appropriating the word kimono — which is a clothing item central to Japanese culture — to sell her products.

The evolution of Bo Peep in ‘Toy Story 4’

(Disney/Pixar; iStock; Lily illustration)
(Disney/Pixar; iStock; Lily illustration)

Bo Peep hasn’t graced the screen in Pixar’s “Toy Story” films since 1999. Even then, in “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2,” she was a secondary character, mainly functioning as Woody’s love interest. But Bo is back in “Toy Story 4,” which is playing in theaters now, and her character is markedly different. Director Josh Cooley told the Pixar team that he wanted to reimagine her; he just wasn’t sure how. As Bo’s character became central to the film, dozens of crew members — mostly women — got involved.

“It became this rampant passion project,” Becki Tower, a directing animator, told The Washington Post. Tower, along with several women across departments, became known as Team Bo, and they forged friendships over their shared passion. In the film, Bo is confident and adventurous. “That idea of independence was so attractive for us as artists and creators and as independent women ourselves,” Tower said.

— Claire Breen, Lily multiplatform editor

I don’t go easy on my work bags — rest in peace, black leather tote that didn’t survive 2018 — and I’ve long resisted purchasing a backpack, which would be more resilient. Luckily, after years of searching for an attractive, durable tote to carry my laptop, notebook and other necessary (and not-so-necessary) items, I stumbled upon Portland Leather Goods. I scooped up a crossbody tote that’s seemingly indestructible and ages well. I’ve received lots of compliments on the bag, and it’s roomy enough that I’m never forced to leave a necessary (or not-so-necessary) item behind.

Nneka McGuire, Lily multiplatform editor

*Have an idea for a news-inspired baiku? Send us your creation at lily [at] washpost [dot] com, and you might see it in the next Lily Lines. We follow 5-7-5.

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